Thursday, 27 December 2012

For the love of Irene

Over at Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp, we celebrate once more the glory that was Marlene Dietrich. Sharing the same birthday in 1901, however, was an actress and screen presence celebrated for many different reasons.

Irene Handl was one of those many character actresses for whom the over-used phrase "national treasure" might have been coined. She was eternally cast to type as the chirpy Cockney, the battleaxe, landlady, housekeeper or long-suffering wife in movies as diverse as Brief Encounter, I'm Alright Jack (and several other Peter Sellers movies), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, School for Scoundrels, A Kid for Two Farthings, Spellbound, Make Mine Mink, two "St Trinians" films, two "Carry Ons", several "Confessions"-type soft-porn comedies, The Italian Job, Stand Up Virgin Soldiers and even the Sex Pistols' The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle! Top that with myriad theatre and telly appearances in sitcoms (such as For The Love of Ada), sketch shows (often alongside the greats such as Frankie Howerd) and occasional dramas, hers was a very long and full career indeed.

We adored her. Here are just a few samples from the screen career of the marvellous Miss Handl:

Irene Handl (27th December 1901 – 29th November 1987).

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